It’s Not the Technology, It’s the Teacher!

How do I become a better teacher? I believe it is all about knowing the content, having positive, caring relationships with your students, and involving students in the learning process.

1. Study the standards/ Common Core standards that you are teaching.
2. Plan your lessons with the end in mind and assess along the way to guide instruction.
3. Let your students create either by drawing, painting, sculpting, building, writing, singing, dancing, speaking, using the computer or iPad: Project-Based Learning. This gives students the chance to practice rigorous thinking required for Common Core.
5. Provide technology for On-Demand access to information: videos, tutorials
6. Differentiate Instructions for all students: ESOL, SPED, Gifted & Talented

Some simple ways to begin the process of creating and differentiating instruction is to use the laptops from your laptop cart, the computers in the labs and in the media center. If you have a few computers in your classroom, put them on tables around the room so more than one person can sit at a computer at a time. It is much more fun and helpful if you work with a partner and students learn so much from each other. Collaboration is one of the 21st century learning skills.

We need to prepare our students for higher level thinking required for college and careers. The first website that I recommend  for you to use with your students is www.instagrok.com .  You have to download Chrome or Firefox in order for it to work on your computers.  You can click on the links above to download them.  Someone will need to do this on all of your laptops and desktop computers.  Use Chrome or Firefox when you want to launch www.instagrok.com. Any subject, standard, concept that you teach has many articles, videos, games, assessments right at your fingertips on this site.

I’ve been attending the Paving the Way to Common Core Workshops with Paula Burgess as we learn about the Language Arts Common Core Standards. One word that stands out in my mind that students need to be able to do across the curriculum is to analyze. First we need to read a passage, talk about it with a partner, then analyze it. This will work beautifully with www.instagrok.com.  You can save your information in the online journal and refer back to it as you create a project from all the information you read and analyze.

Some projects your students could create are simple WordClouds using websites such as www.abcya.com, www.tagxedo.com or www.wordle.net

Students can use the iPad or computers to record their voices as they discuss their findings in MovieMaker, PhotoStory, PowerPOint, Prezi.

A practice that works well that many teachers do across the district is posting links to games, videos of students teaching a lesson, or interactive websites to their blogs or teacher websites. This allows students the opportunity to review if needed any material they didn’t quite understand. For example: Cathy Turner, the webmaster and Computer Lab teacher at Welcome Elementary, posts her lessons on her website. Students know how to navigate to her website and can go through the assignments on her web page. They can do this independently now.  Here is a link to her website:  www.technology-treehouse.com
Parker Rowland, a 4th grade teacher,  from Monaview Elementary School uses his blog to publish mini-lessons of him teaching and his students’ projects:  Mr. Rowland’s Blog  4th Grade teachers at Welcome Elementary like to posts students work and links to activities that correlate to PASS.  Sara Awtrey’s blog is divided by subjects:  Awtrey All-Stars

8 thoughts on “It’s Not the Technology, It’s the Teacher!

  1. Jenn Davis

    I read this blog after watching Sir Ken’s video and it made me think about how he said that we are enthralled with certain ways of teaching. I think about how easy it must be for veteran teachers to fall into the same routines because it’s comfortable, it’s been done before, etc. Reading this blog made me realize that if we want to truly equip our children, it is going to take intentional/ongoing work on our part to grow, learn and be innovative with how to incorporate technology.

  2. Sue Nodine

    Just the title of this article excites me! The teacher is the most important part of the puzzle in a child’s learning. A teacher’s attitude, excitement for learning, and creativity sets the mood for the classroom. Being a seasoned teacher, I try to glean strategies and techniques learned in the past and put “new” twists to them to meet the needs of my students in today’s world. Technology is the “new” twist that makes learning come alive in today’s classroom! Parker Rowland has been an excellent resource at Monaview to help implement technology in our teaching.

  3. Demarrias Rock

    In looking at the six points on (How do I become a better teacher?) is very exciting. The six points is hitting all the changes that many educators are facing today. At my school we have always been focusing on these points. Our goal in to make our students independent leaners for the 21 century. We plan our lessons base on the standards with our partners. We also try to make our lessons rigorous and with technology. The days of pencil paper and worksheets are over. We must get our students to the point where they must think and problem solve. The lesson must be created with that purpose if we are to allow our students to compete with other students in the world.

  4. childrenfirst Post author

    I know that you Sue are a perfect example of a teacher who really loves what she does each day. I’m thrilled that you are taking this class in order to add to your teaching expertise!

  5. Rachel Figg

    I agree with the previous poster- I love the title! The success of a classroom is guided by the teacher, not the technology. It is so easy for teachers to receive new technology in their classroom and not adjust their teaching to use it effectively. I also like how you said that becoming a better teacher is about involving the students in the learning process. I think this is something that is easily forgotten too. As teachers, we get so excited to use the technology ourselves that we forget to involve the students in the creative learning process.

  6. Kathryn Cato

    I clearly agree that it is the teacher who sets the stage of the classroom. But now it’s not just the teacher, we have a jet pack. It’s technology that will open so many more avenues for studnets to learn. As teachers, we have to continue to challege ourselves as well as our students.

  7. Angela Rinehart

    I liked this post. I know there are so many things to with kids on the iPad. We have just hit the tip of the iceberg at my school. I really want to know how to make my own blog so parents can see their kids in action instead of a piece of paper going home about what they ate and whether or not they had a bm that day.

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